Can you feel the love tonight?
Theatre troupes across America certainly hope you can, and they're pushing romantic and Valentine-oriented events all weekend. There's something for every taste -- from the gushing, dewy-eyed newlywed to the bitter, lovelorn misanthrope.
On Broadway, The Scarlet Pimpernel is offering its own Valentine gift to audiences. Those who call and purchase two or more full-price tickets (212) 307-4100 and give the code "AVAL" will get a free copy of the show's original cast recording. Tickets must be ordered by Feb. 28 for performances now through April 15.
At Broadway's Forever Tango on both matinee and evening performances, Feb. 14, audience members will get a box of Russell Stover chocolate candies.
Those hoping for other romantic shows on Broadway can take in the lionized romance of Simba and Nala in The Lion King, the Camelotic love of Jaqueline n' JFK in Jackie, the strange connection between Salvador Agron and Wahzinak in The Capeman, the blossoming ardor of the Mother and Tateh in Ragtime, and the extremely happy marriage between Thomas and Mrs. Jefferson in 1776. More cynical souls might warm to the mismatched Lala and Peachy in The Last Night of Ballyhoo, the doomed coupling of Anne and Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank, the all-too-familial bonds in A View From The Bridge and Off-Broadway's How I Learned To Drive, the tragic renewing of vows between the Strauses in Titanic, and the hopeless love triangle of Jekyll and Hyde.
Single And Proud, a short comedy about the dating scene by Frederick Stroppel (Fortune's Fools), returns to NYC on this most appropriate day. The show had a month's run at 29th Street Repertory back in October 1996, and was originally a segment of the company's 6th Annual Summer One Act Festival in 1995. Now it's at the Java Shop (49th St. & Broadway) for a 3-4 month run (and possibly longer).
Only 40 minutes long, the play is followed by a cocktail hour of mingling and matchmaking. Once again, Single And Proud stars Elizabeth Elkins (whose EE Productions is producing the show) as the neurotic hostess of a singles seminar. Also in the cast are Lois Raebeck, Courtney Penzimer and newcomer Jonathan Powers.
For tickets and information regarding Single And Proud, call (212) 243-4718.
At the Off-Broadway revue, Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know the matinee and evening performances will offer a special drawing for a carriage ride around Central Park. The 7:30 PM show is already sold out, but there are still tickets available for the 3 PM matinee, (212) 799-4599.
Regionally, Chicago's cult hit, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind will be featuring a special "Love Show Edition" Feb. 14-16 at the troupe's home, the Neo-Futurarium on North Ashland. In a happy coincidence, Feb. 14 also marks the company's sixth year at the venue, after moving from the Live Bait space in 1992.
Founded by Greg Allen in December 1988, the Neo-Futurist troupe mixes and matches forms ranging from the avant-garde, sketch comedy, poetry, one-act plays, monologues and agit-prop. The Neo-Futurists' show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, could almost be considered a play slam. At each performance, the troupe performs 30 plays in 60 minutes. Not surprisingly, plays can range from less than ten seconds to a maximum length of about five minutes. An on-stage timer keeps everyone apprised of the time left in the evening.
As with previous TMLMTBGB Valentines weekends, this particular line-up will feature plays about "love in all its guises, forms and folly." Condoms will be distributed, as will good (and bad) advice on romance.
For information on Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind call their Chicago hotline at (773) 275-5255.
In Louisville, KY, couples can enjoy the multi-media experience, Grand Hotel of Strangers, a blend of performance art and such new technologies as holography and virtual reality. For tickets to this event at Kentucky Center's Bomhard Theatre call (502) 584-7777.
Looking for an even more unorthodox way to spend the big romantic day? What about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade! From 9 AM-1 PM, Feb. 14, 200 guests with $35 can watch the parade from the fourth floor balcony of Houston, TX's Alley Theatre. There'll be chow, and the rough-riders will saunter right by the Tony Award-winning regional theatre on their downtown trail.
The rodeo parade brunch is being sponsored by the Alley Theatre Guild, theatre-lovin' volunteers who participate in fundraising, community outreach, actor hospitality, opening-night parties, and other special events.
Last but not least, Glenn Close, Calista Flockhart, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin and Goldie Hawn are just a few of the stars who will perform Eve Ensler's Obie Award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, at a special benefit in New York on V-Day, with proceeds going to the effort to stop violence against women. The gala, the jewel in the crown of a daylong event, "V-Day 1998," will be held at the 2,000-seat Hammerstein Ballroom Theatre on West 34th Street in New York.
The list of performers confirmed for the Valentine's Day gala includes Margaret Cho, Glenn Close, Calista Flockhart, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, The Klezmatics, Kathy Najimy, Rosie Perez, Robin Roberts, Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Lois Smith, Phoebe Snow, Gloria Steinem, Marisa Tomei, Lily Tomlin, Ulali, Chantal Westerman (from "Good Morning America"), Joanne Woodward and the singing trio Betty. Dylan McDermott, Fisher Stevens, and Harvey Fierstein are among many male celebrities volunteering their services as ushers that evening.
So whether you have a vagina or not, whether you have a girlfriend or boyfriend or not, whether you're married, single, divorced, separated or otherwise engaged, there's only one way to spend Valentine's Day -- at the theatre.